Mohammed Al-Sharekh’s CV lists the following achievements and positions that he has held: a masters in Economics from Chicago University, Deputy Director General for the Kuwait Fund of the Arab Economics Development, member of the board of the Word Bank, Chairman/Managing Director of the Industrial Bank of Kuwait, founder of Sakhr Software Company and founder of the “Book in a Newspaper” project.
What will you do now, Abu Fahd? Mohammed Al-Sharekh is turning his attention to reading and writing. He reads about everything and writes astonishingly good short stories, a literary art that is making a comeback after a long decline.
His latest collection “Asrar wa Qisas Ukhra” generally resembles his previous collection called “Assaaha”. As for the characters, they are all new to us. We know that Mohammed Al-Sharekh bases them on people that he selects from Kuwait or the Gulf, but we do not know how. They are all surprising like the plots of the stories, and all of them are out of context. Everything that you expect to happen doesn’t, and everything that you don’t expect to happen does because Muhammad Al-Sharekh takes great pains with his research, and he polishes this with an eloquent style that bursts forth without breaks or paragraphs that quickly takes you towards an ending that often remains open-ended and lacks conclusion. His job is to narrate the story and not to provide an ending. End them as you like or leave them hanging like a puzzle that seems easy to solve but is full of possibilities.
Al-Sharekh has dedicated a lot of his life to culture, the arts as well as the economy, and now he is leaving the business world to dedicate himself to culture and the arts. I asked him how his fellow businessmen reacted to this decision? He quickly said “Angrily” and he enacted the word with hand gestures and his facial expression.
Can a businessman end his lucrative career in order to practice the trade of idlers? In the west, yes. Voltaire used to earn a lot of money so that he could devote himself to writing. Montaigne left the world of riches which he inherited from his family, in order to immerse himself in meditations. There were two towers in his castle. He isolated himself in one of them and isolated his wife in the other. A writer needs solitude.
When Arthur Koestler met Ernest Hemingway in Paris, he said that one could either succeed as a father or as a writer. Doing the two together is impossible. During his exile in America, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn used to receive his sons in his office for half an hour a day, including weekends.
Mohammed Al-Sharekh is joining a family of writers at the highest level. The secret of “Asrar wa Qisas Ukhra” is the direct narratives that it contains.